What is Citizen Science?

“Citizen science is scientific research that is entirely or partially conducted by non-scientists (citizens), often in collaboration with or supervised by professional scientists. The participating citizens in citizen science are called ‘citizen scientists'”. (Scivil)

The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) describes it as follows: Citizen science is an ‘umbrella’ term that describes a variety of ways in which the public participate in science. The main characteristics are that: (1) citizens are actively involved in research, in partnership or collaboration with scientists or professionals; and (2) there is a genuine outcome, such as new scientific knowledge, conservation action or policy change. ECSA developed ‘10 principles of citizen science’, which are available in a number of languages. More recently, the citizen science community developed the ‘Characteristics of citizen science’.

Citizen science takes place in diverse fields, including ecology, astronomy, medicine, computer science, history – and many more. And citizen science can happen at a range of different scales – from local projects to continental and global scales, and from short projects to those that occur over decades!

support and network

Are you a researcher and do you want to start or improve a citizen science project? Or are you wondering whether citizen science is suited for your project and research questions? We’re glad to help you!

  • Contact Floor.Keersmaekers@vub.be (tel. 02 629 30 88)
  • Become part of our citizen science Community of Practice. Within this community we’ll focus on interdisciplinary networking and peer-learning, in the first place among VUB colleagues but also aiming at exchange and collaboration with international colleagues from EUTOPIA European University. Interested? Let us know via the above email addresses or via this short survey (10 min.) questioning your citizen science interests and needs.
  • Check colleagues’ projects below
  • Find tips, tools, manuals (mostly in Dutch) on the website of Scivil, het Vlaamse Kenniscentrum voor Citizen Science


  • Citizen Science funding call EWI Vlaamse Overheid – no new call is planned at the moment, here you can find the past projects funded by this call.
  • Horizon2020 funding calls

Citizen Science @ VUB

An overview of past and current Citizen Science projects at VUB. (If your project is not yet on this list, please let us know!)

Current projects


Amai! brings citizens and artificial intelligence experts together to develop smart AI solutions for work, climate, health en mobility.


Op dit online platform delen detectoristen, onderzoekers en erfgoedmedewerkers hun archeologische metaaldeectievondsten en kennis.


De moederlijke stamlijn opstellen van zoveel mogelijk Vlamingen, om nieuwe inzichten te verwerven in het mitochondriale DNA.

Bugs 2 The Rescue

Citizens collaborate with scientists to stop the spread of invasive exotic aquatic plants.


Brengt ons crimineel verleden tot leven!

Wikiscripta Neerlandica

Burgerwetenschap als breekijzer voor de ontsluiting en digitalisering van talig erfgoed uit noord en zuid


Developing an urban pluvial flood early warning service for ánd by citizens and city authorities


Co-producing scenarios for
nature-based urban regeneration

Past projects

Oog voor diabetes (2018-2020)

Citizens screened 40.000 (!) images of eyes on injuries. This will contribute to a faster detection of diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease that can result in blindness.